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Topic: Upgrade from a white wall on a budget?
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Joined: Jan 10, 2018
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Hey, guys. Last year I purchased a projector and have been using a white wall after a failed attempt to to mix some black widow paint. I'm brand new to this kind of passion project and would really appreciate some suggestions for a "screen" that will help me enjoy my projector in ambient light. I purchsed a sample pack from Carl's place and found myself drawn to their silver screen, even though it was engineered for 3d projectors. Not to mention I've been drooling over YouTube videos of people showing off their homemade black screens. My projector is only 720p native but upscales to 1080p quite nicely. I currently have it set to approximately 130 inches. I hope you'll help someone as ignorant as I am. Thank you very much.

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This is my home theater in progress.

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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
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The DiY threads over at AVS are really where I recommend people go to find out all they need to about the options you have available. I followed some instructions for building a DiY screen once out of blackout cloth and it turned out very nice.

That said, I would never do it again as the price for standard white screens with really decent frames can be had for just two or three hundred bucks.

Still, they have all types of people that are seriously into painted screens and testing different formulas, etc. They have people that build frames and paint surfaces, and use various cloths, and really can give you far more information than I can.

For me, the hours it takes to build a screen is better served by just buying a prefab screen.

Be aware, that lit rooms are always a huge compromise to image quality. So, a screen that helps combat the existing light trades off some image quality for brightness and acts like a band aid instead of a fix. This is a choice that is fine to make, but it should be something to always be aware of. You will never match a dark room with dark paint on the walls/ceiling by using a special screen.

But, you can still get very acceptable results.

Not sure why I missed the photo, but it looks like you have a very dark/black theater space. If that's the setup, then there is no reason at all you should be looking at a high gain or a black screen. You really should be sticking with a white screen with as much neutrality as possible. Your biggest issue may be the projector itself if you aren't getting enough 'pop' from the image.

Just an FYI: If you have a 720p projector, it would downscale 1080p content to 720p, not upscale it. Hope that makes sense.
[Edited by AV_Integrated on Jan 11, 2018 at 9:37 AM]
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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Thank you very much for the reply. I appreciate your honesty and informative reply. I'm glad you took the time. I created a similar thread at AVSForums and nobody replied. I meant to say downscale. Ha ha. So maybe my setup is fine the way it is? My kids just don't like sitting in the dark but they can get over it if there's no magic cure for the screen. In your opinion, is 130" too big for a 720p Projector? I could upload a picture of it in action, but maybe I should just save up for a better projector instead of trying to compensate with a special screen. I just don't have the finances to go all in. I've spent less than $500 including the sound bar so I guess you get what you pay for. If I may ask, what kind of projector do you have? Thanks again.
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I'm using the BenQ W1070, which is in an unfinished basement space and will stay there until I finish my basement and go with a Sony or JVC projector.

I'm not sure how much of a huge step up a new projector will be since you didn't list your current projector model. You should always try to do that so we know what level of product we are talking abut. You may see a huge jump with something else, or you may not see much of an improvement.

Your LIGHTING condition, on the other hand, you can readily address if you want to.

Lighting is, by far, the most overlooked aspect of home theater, and one which a qualified DiY guy can take care of in a few weekend of work and some trips to Home Depot.

Check this out: http://www.avintegrated.com/lighting.html

It will give you an idea of how you can add a great deal of light in the room without having a severe impact on image quality on screen. The key is directional lighting that is away from the screen and on dimmers. Avoid LED lighting at this point because it can't really get dim enough.

The projector in the photos above is a very old Panasonic PT-L300U 960x540 LCD projector. It was taken about 8 or more years ago in my last home in my family room setup.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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Ha ha. Thank you very much. I've been avoiding the model of my projector because it's a cheap Chinese one. It's the gp90 simplebeamer, and I'm embarrassed to mention it because I wanted a placeholder that got the job done on a budget. I know there's a reason why projectors are expensive and I just want a 720p or 1080p projector that's good for 130" without shelling out $1000. I've heard good things about the benq models, but if you're wanted an upgrade from that I'm worried about the quality for my budget. I'm sorry I didn't mention the "brand" sooner.
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